Preparing, OSSW Day One

Drove up to Mendocino, which as the crow flies is only 200 miles from Redwood City, but always takes self at least FIVE HOURS.

On the way, she stopped by Yorkville Market and had lunch:

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And then she mulled over the writing exercises she should start tomorrow with.

Should she have the students practice writing one very, very, very long, run-on sentence? With points to whoever can come up with the most run-on sentence?

Or, for fun, should she have them write a piece that’s all bad grammar and deliberately wrong spelling? Hamberder, anyone? Smocking guns?

Should she have them write a piece that’s all dialogue?

Should she ask them to capture every nuance of a piece of reality . . . in one sentence?

Should she have them practice writing a conversation that grows from an association of ideas (like a Harold Pinter play?)

Should she have them practice delaying the outcome for as long as possible?

She can’t decide. She’ll have to sleep on it.

BTW, this is one of the plays being presented by the Mendocino Theatre Company in 2019:

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Mendocino Theatre Company, 2019 Season

Stay tuned.

CHARLIE CHAN IS DEAD, Vol. 1

For the workshop this weekend, re-reading some old stories to show different ways of writing memoir. In particular, thinking of a story called Lenox Hill, December 1991, which Jessica Hagedorn included in the anthology Charlie Chan is Dead.

When Jessica contacted self to solicit a piece, self had nothing, nothing, nothing.

Her sister had died just the month before. She did keep a diary, though.

The diary became the story. The first story in what later become a cycle of grief stories: Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press)

For a while, a course called Ethics in Medicine, taught at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, included the story in their syllabus.

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Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Some of Self’s Publications, For Students Who Ask

Black and White 2

Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is BLACK AND WHITE.

Self did an earlier post for this challenge, but today she was cleaning closets. And she pulled out these two lovely objects, which are feather dusters. And she thought huh and what if — ?

So she brought the feather dusters to the light and started taking pictures.

Voila! Black and White 2! Even though the feathers are more Black and Grey!

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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

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Since she is preparing to teach a class at the Mendocino Art Center called One Story, Six Ways, she might ask her students to look at this set of photos for one of the exercises.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Teaching ONE STORY, SIX WAYS at Mendocino Art Center (Feb. 8 – 10, 2019)

A deep examination of process.

A workshop that is as much about reflection as it is about writing.

A workshop about doing it over. And over. Until you get it right.

ONE STORY, SIX WAYS: Feb. 8 – 10, 2019

Instructor: Marianne Villanueva

Mendocino Art Center

42500 Little Lake Street

Mendocino, CA

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Black and White: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Must be on a roll! Participated in two Fun Foto Challenges in one week!

The theme of this one is BLACK AND WHITE. Self took these pictures just a few minutes ago. Thanks to Cee Neuner for the always-wonderful prompts!

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Self is teaching a three-day writing workshop in Mendocino in February. Here are some of the materials from the last time she taught this class, in 2016:

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Variations on a Theme 3: Mendocino

Self has arrived. She even managed to secure rock star parking right in front of the Mendocino Art Center! She’s teaching a weekend workshop on Landscapes of the Mind.

Just south of Mendocino are the giant redwoods. Self pulled over to take a couple of shots for this year’s Daily Post Photo Challenge: VARIATIONS ON A THEME.

And there was this vine-draped house, just south of the Village of Mendocino. Greenery and redwoods, that’s what Mendocino is all about.

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Private residence, just south of Mendocino, CA

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Mid-Afternoon in the Redwood Forest near Mendocino, CA

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It’s been a while since self has experienced the majesty of a redwood forest. Thankful these made it through the Northern California Wildfires, last October.

There was hardly any traffic, until the last 10 miles or so. That’s where you get the heartstopping views, but the narrow twists and turns demand maximum concentration (plus she is annoyed by the tailgaters, SUVs and jeeps mostly).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND: Mendocino Art Center, 27 & 28 January 2018

“You said on the phone the other day that you’re a teacher?”

“Yes.”

“What subject do you teach?”

“Everything, pretty much.”

Exotics, by Callan Wink (Granta 128, Summer 2014)

This coming weekend, self is teaching.

A two-day writing workshop on just one subject: Landscapes.

Students will try their hand at writing only one thing: landscapes, both real and invented.

You do not need to be a tested writer, only a writer who is willing to be tested.

Thank you, Mendocino Art Center, for allowing self this opportunity.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

  • A journey is more than just a movement through physical space. It is also movement through an emotional landscape. This writing workshop will be about journeys, both real and imagined: journeys of retrieval and nostalgia, as well as journeys of discovery. We’ll map emotions, moods, as well as physical space. We’ll do it all by sitting in one physical space. I’ll share my process with you. I’ll show you how.
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Albion, California: January 2017

Stay tuned.

Mendocino Art Center, Winter 2018: LANDSCAPES OF THE MIND

Self is teaching a class in Mendocino. First time since Winter 2016. Excited and happy to be back.

Here’s the link.

Registration’s open.

A Student Submits a Piece (Assignment # 2: Create a List)

I.

A woman is hungry. She searches her house and all she discovers is a piece of stale white toast. She takes a bite and discovers it is soaking wet.

II.

A woman’s dryer is full of water. Her first thought is to read the dryer instructions on removing water. She squats down but cannot see/read the instructions around the control button. Suddenly, a stranger is standing right behind her. The woman realizes all she has on are “mini tiny shorts.” She feels naked.

III.

A woman is in “a poorly lit place” having a manicure. She realizes she left her purse in the car. She retrieves her purse, but she finds that the way to the manicure place is now uphill, and she is wearing high platform shoes. The manicurist tells the woman she owes $400.

IV.

A woman is with her son by a pool. It is time for some scheduled pool activity to begin but the boy stays outside the pool, playing and teasing his mother, “for what seems like hours.” The woman begins crying hard.


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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